The pursuit of a US green card has many avenues, but for many, the H1-B visa has been a way to find a job in the United States and transition to permanent residency over time.
If you hold an H1-B visa, you may be eligible to apply for an adjustment of status for your visa and seek a US green card in the employment based category. Most commonly, workers with an H1-B visa have applied to utilize the EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 visa category in order to seek permanent residency.
With the growing demand for permanent residency in the United States, a significant backlog has been created. Depending on your native country and the particular visa category you are applying towards, this backlog can delay your green card over ten years. The longest waiting period is for the EB-2 and EB-3 visas for those applying from India. Because of the increasing waiting period, many people from India are looking for alternative employment visas.
The EB-5 visa is an employment visa that qualifies applicants through investment and job creation rather than having a specialty occupation, as is the case with EB-2 and EB-3.
In order to qualify for the EB-5 visa an applicant must have the following:
- Invest a minimum amount of 500,000 USD (as of February 2017)
- The investment must create 10 permanent US jobs.
Other than that, there is not much more the investor must do in order to get a green card.
Is it Quicker To Get a green card through EB-5 Investment?
The estimated time period to receive your conditional green card is 16-18 months. This comes from US Citizen and Immigration Services, but processing times will vary on the individual basis.
The graph below illustrates the timeline and processes that go along with the entire EB-5 investment process.
This may be considerably faster for some applicants to receive their green card and may be something to consider if you are from a country with a large backlog in other employment-based visa categories. The entire investment process estimates to take around 5 years, but you should receive your conditional green card in that first year and a half. This could be a saving grace for those on an H1-B visa looking to secure their green card sooner rather than later. The EB-5 visa could save someone over ten years of waiting for their green card.
There is good news for those on the H1-B visa. You can participate in an EB-5 investment while filing an adjustment of status and continue to work at your current profession. The process works just as simply as adjusting to the backlogged visa categories traditionally used by H1-B visa holders with the benefit of a shorter waiting period.
The EB-5 program does not come without its hurdles. For applicants, it can be a struggle to have the minimum investment amount able to be transferred into the EB-5 project.
There are two main issues when it comes to the process of investing.
- The first is that many investors come from China or a country where there are currency restrictions, limiting how much money an individual is able to take out of their country within a set period of time.
- The second is more general and applies to those that have a difficult time acquiring $500,000 USD in liquid capital to qualify for the investment.
If an individual is able to overcome these hurdles, if they even apply to the investor, is consulting an immigration attorney. An applicant should always consult an immigration attorney when evaluating anything relating to their immigration status. As far as EB-5 process is concerned, an immigration attorney will help with the adjustment of status process and their visa application.
The other main task for an investor and immigration attorney to work on before the investment can be made in EB-5 is proving the investor’s source of funds. This is a huge hurdle for some investors as the investor must prove to the government where they earned the money to invest. This sounds simple, but it is a very lengthy and detail-oriented process that the investor’s attorney will assist with in order to qualify for the investment program. After consulting with an attorney and gathering your funds.
The next step is choosing a project for your investment.
Finding a project is no easy task. This is critical for investors because they should be looking for a project that meets immigration requirements and provide an easy way to receive their investment back at the end of the immigration process. This is also known as the exit strategy.
If you would like to know more about EB-5 projects or how you can get started, schedule a FREE consultation with our experts. Our team of consultants are here to serve you and have helped with hundreds of EB-5 cases and have the resources to help you today. Learn more at the link below.